The Aerospace Coatings Market

By Kerry Pianoforte, Editor | May 6, 2014

Aerospace coatings manufacturers deliver innovative products offering their customers improved efficiencies and expanded color options.

Aerospace coatings manufacturers Coatings World interviewed noted there were a number of factors driving the market right now. Although recent airline mergers do offer opportunities  for aerospace coatings, manufacturers noted that improved efficiencies in terms of light weight products and better application are the keys to growth in this high tech market.

“Airline mergers do provide an element of revenue for the aerospace coatings industry,” said Mark Cancilla, global platform director – aerospace coatings, PPG Aerospace. “As liveries of the merged companies are unified, the coatings suppliers can see a short term,  but often significant impact. These changes can also provide opportunities for the coatings suppliers to demonstrate their expanded color and design capabilities as the new, merged airline seeks to capitalize upon its new state by re-engineering its brand.”

PPG aerospace coatings business has grown with the aerospace industry itself. “Significant OEM backlogs with unprecedented production levels require similar increases in volumes of coatings,” said Cancilla. “Further, new technologies in aerospace coatings which provide significant value advantages to the aviation industry in terms of light weight products, improved application efficiencies and longer service life also drive growth for the coating industry. PPG has had success through these dynamics.”

“The market is still quite fragmented,” said Daniela Vlad, BU director Aerospace Coatings at AkzoNobel.  “With the top 150 airlines owning some 60 percent of the order backlog, and with more than 2000 airlines worldwide, it is likely that consolidation in the industry will continue. The market for coatings as such is not negatively impacted. We indeed expect the world fleet to more than double in the next 20 years. This also creates opportunities for us.”

“The market has intrinsic growth potential  and we will benefit from that growth,” said Vlad. “Growth in aerospace is being driven by an emergent middle class in emerging economies and more and more people being able to travel for leisure. Various airlines will try to adapt their strategy to tap this demand. This translates into demand for aircraft and associated services. We expect this trend to continue.”

“Another driver is the need for coatings with superior, enhanced properties which can provide both economic value to the customers – better throughput times, lower weigh – and meet sustainability and environmental needs,” Vlad added.

Improved Efficiencies/Expanded Color Options
According to Julie Voisin, Sherwin-Williams global product manger for aerospace coatings, customers are looking for durability, coatings performance, distinctness of image and unique color styling options.

“Especially when it comes to privately-owned jets, owners want to differentiate themselves with a unique paint job so we need to develop expanded color options,” she said. “In the case of commercial products, speed of paint process time is also key.”
The aviation industry continues to grow in competitiveness whether a company builds aircraft components, assembles aircraft, flies them or maintains them. 

“To address the increases in competition, coatings suppliers can support these segments of the industry with improved product application properties, faster product drying times, lighter weight coating systems, and longer service life,” said Cancilla.  “The coatings are also integral to the aircraft branding.  Airlines are increasingly taking advantage of improved coatings color capabilities resulting in fewer simple white aircraft designs with simple logos.  We are seeing a wider variety of colors and effects that have now become possible.  PPG has further increased the ability of airlines and operators to paint aircraft in dark colors without concern over solar absorption with our development of solar reflecting coatings.”

The aerospace coatings industry is also advancing the development of more environmentally friendly solutions jointly with the aviation OEMs and aftermarket segment.  The primary corrosion inhibitor used in the industry is chromium. “But new materials have been developed which demonstrate significant corrosion resistance including PPG’s Desoprime CF/CA7502 primer and our Aerocron electrocoat primer,” Cancilla said.

“There are various types of customers in the value chain: OEMs and their subcontractors, airlines and service/maintenance providers,” said Vlad. “Each of them have a variety of needs. For airlines a critical aspect is color. Choices in color selection are often driven by their brand and the message they are trying to convey. For us, a paint supplier, it means we need to be able to provide a wide rang of color on a global basis and with short delivery times. OEMs are often setting standards for new technologies and some of the drivers here are corrosion resistance, improved adhesion and compatibility with specific substrates. Our R&D teams often work together with OEMs on developing specific technologies.”

“For maintenance companies paint is only one step in a process that involves stripping of the aircraft, cleaning, surface treatment and painting,” she continued. “Therefore our paint systems have to be geared toward the entire maintenance process. It is fair to say that for all of types of customers, productivity is a key driver too, therefore our paint systems have to be geared towards enhanced productivity.”

New Products
AkzoNobel’s most recently launched product is a basecoat clearcoat. It can provide faster drying times and improved  adhesion. “We will continue to develop paint and paint systems with enhanced properties, taking a holistic view across the entire value chain and working with our customers towards better performance,” Vlad said.
AkzoNobel Aerospace Coatings recently announced Boeing qualification of the Aerodur 3001/ 3002 Base Coat/Clear Coat system. The newly approved Aerodur Base Coat/Clear Coat system is qualified by Boeing to both the BMS 10-72, Type 10 and BMS 10-125, Type 4 specifications and is applicable for use on all Boeing legacy models (777, 747, 737, 767) under BMS 10-72 as well as the Hybrid Laminar Flow areas of 787-9 model aircraft per BMS 10-125. To date, Aerodur 3001/3002 Base Coat/Clear Coat has been applied to well over three hundred new and repainted aircraft.

Aerodur 3001/3002 Base Coat/Clear Coat has been developed with a focus on reducing drying times and bringing operational efficiency to the paint shop. The fast dry to tape time and ease of application has demonstrated paint cycle time reductions of up to 30 percent. Data gathered on aircraft flying with the durable Aerodur 3001/3002 system since 2008 also demonstrate the outstanding gloss and color retention of the cutting edge paint system. 

PPG has received numerous qualifications recently.  “We have developed and launched two new basecoat clearcoat systems: Desothane HD/CA9000 and Desothane HD/CA9008,” Cancila said. “These systems have been approved to the AMS3095 standard as well as to some OEM requirements.  Further qualifications are pending at many other OEMs and many airlines continue to convert to these new technologies.  Desothane HD is designed to improve the application efficiency of our coatings systems while saving weight and extending service life.”

PPG has also qualified its Aerocron electrocoat primer to the AMS 3144 standard.  Also, further qualifications are underway at several OEMs. Recently, PPG announced the launch of its Andaro special effect pigments which give a significant depth of color image, resulting in a brilliant livery.  Again, PPG is pursuing further opportunities for this product which can be utilized effectively on a wide variety of colors.

PPG has launched its new Solar Heat Management (SHM) coatings incorporated into its Desothane product lines.  These coatings permit the reduction in air conditioning requirements while the aircraft is on the ground in warm conditions.  “Further, with the widespread use of composites, the application of our SHM coatings permits a greater use of dark colors, avoiding potential increases in skin temperature beyond typical composite requirement if standard coatings were to be used,” Cancilla added.

PPG Aerospace reports that it continues to focus heavily upon the development and launch of new coatings technologies aiding in the advancement of aviation today.  “As energy costs continue to rise, as our industry continues to progress in its ecological impact, and as competition within the industry continues to drive greater efficiencies, PPG’s aerospace coatings products continue to evolve,” said Cancilla. “The utilization of our talent and capabilities across the broad PPG coatings organization, coupled with those within our Aerospace strategic business unit recently enhanced with the addition of our new team from the former Deft Incorporated, has positioned our business to support the growing needs of the industry and to provide the initiative for change.”

Sherwin-Williams manufactures and distributes a complete line of advanced technology aerospace paint and coating systems for the interior and exterior of a variety of commercial airline, general aviation and military aircraft. This includes business jets, single or twin engine aircraft, commercial airline fleets, corporate fleets, helicopters, regional airlines, cargo planes and military aircraft.
Designed for use on commercial aircraft cabin and cockpit surfaces, Sherwin-Williams JetFlex Interior Aircraft Finish applies easily to plastic, metal and composite surfaces. The fast-drying finish is available in two technologies – solvent-based polyurethane enamel and water-reducible polyurethane dispersion coating.

The easy-to-apply, solvent-based product provides excellent adhesion to plastic and metal and has outstanding stain, abrasion and scratch resistance. It is listed on Boeing Material Specification BMS 10-83J, Type II and III, including flammability, yellowing resistance and smoke-stain resistance requirements. It also meets the FAR/JAR 25.853 regulations for burn, smoke and heat release.

JetFlex is also available as Polane L polyurethane, which is Boeing approved and ideal for OEM applications and sub-contractor work.  Sherwin-Williams is the only manufacturer to have interior cabin topcoats qualified to Boeing BMS 10-83J, Type II, III and V. 
JetFlex WR is a water-reducible polyurethane dispersion formula that meets stringent VOC standards and is free of chrome, lead and isocyanate hazards. It delivers similar performance to solvent-based polyurethane coatings, including excellent hardness and chemical/solvent resistance.  It offers a smooth or textured coating on structural foam, injection-molded plastic or treated steel. The single-package formulation does not need a catalyst for application, can be air or force dried and is designed to meet the FAR/JAR 25.853 regulations.

JetFlex and Polane L coatings come in unlimited solid colors and are available in multiple gloss ranges with an intermix system.
A new aerospace coating Chrome Hazard Free Quick Dry Epoxy Primer (CM0483712) has been also introduced by Sherwin-Williams. It is a high performance, two-component corrosion inhibitive Epoxy Primer that contains no chromate.
This special epoxy primer utilizes unique chemistry that yields a shortened dry time with an extended pot life. It provides excellent adhesion to treated substrates and meets U.S. VOC regulations that require a 2.9 lb/gal (348 g/L).
This new epoxy primer meets the performance requirements MIL-PRF-23377J, Class N and is qualified to SAE AMS 3095 as part of a complete chrome hazard free system with 3M’s AC-131 surface pre-treatment and Sherwin-Williams SKYscapes basecoat-clearcoat polyurethane system.

Ideal for commercial aircraft, military aircraft, business jet and general aviation applications, this new epoxy primer is designed to work with all Sherwin-Williams aerospace topcoats. As a result, aircraft painters can get superior topcoat gloss hold out and increased productivity while delivering a very high square-foot of coverage per gallon.
A complete chrome hazard free coating system – including pretreatment, corrosion-protective primer and topcoat – offered by Sherwin-Williams has earned approval by SAE International’s Aerospace Material Specification G-8 Organic Coatings Qualified Product Group. The SKYscapes basecoat-clearcoat exterior coating system uses the latest technology to reduce paint-process time by as much as 30 percent.

The AMS 3095-certified SKYscapes system that earned qualifications consists of 3M’s AC-131 Surface Pretreatment, the new Chrome Hazard Free Quick Dry Epoxy Primer (CM0483712), SKYscapes 850 Series basecoat (CM850113), and SKYscapes clearcoat (CM0850180).
Although Sherwin-Williams has had other SKYscapes systems be qualified to AMS 3095, this is the first system in which both the pretreatment and the corrosion inhibitive primer do not contain hexavalanet chromium, the company reported.  
SKYscapes has become known as a high performance, multi-purpose product.   Besides AMS 3095 status, it is also qualified to numerous general aviation OEM specifications. Sherwin-Williams said that it is one of the first major aviation industry paint and coatings suppliers to have a chromate hazard free system to achieve AMS certification.

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